the new york diet

Actress Pia Glenn Alternates Almond Afternoons With Duck Vindaloo Nights

Actress Pia Glenn loves At Vermilion.

Actress Pia Glenn loves At Vermilion.Photo: Melissa Hom

As Condoleezza Rice, actress Pia Glenn gives Will Ferrell’s George Bush a lap dance in Broadway’s You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush. The act feels more “goofy” than sexy, says Glenn, who feels “lucky to shake my behind” on Will Ferrell. He may share that opinion — the six-foot-tall actress is more sultry than silly (and is now linked to At Vermilion investor Salman Rushdie). Her physique is the result of a strict diet, which she was good enough to break for this week’s New York Diet.

Saturday, February 7
Saturday is a two-show day for me. I love doing this show, but Saturday, you’re looking down the barrel of the gun. In order for me to get my workout in I wake up at 6:30 or 7. I had three boiled egg whites and wheat toast with a little butter. I haven’t had bread in a very long time and at some point in the past week I started having it again because it tastes very, very good. And I had a nonfat Dannon strawberry yogurt and an orange. No coffee, no tea. I just go straight for the sugar-free Red Bull. That’s my two-show-day friend. And, of course, Emergen-C. I have Emergen-C every day.

At 12:30 I had two plain, lightly salted rice cakes with reduced-fat Jiff and strawberry jam. I wasn’t afraid of the peanut-butter scare. A little bit of peanut butter goes a long way with me for energy, so I figure it’ll do its usual trick and satisfy me or I’ll have a problem.

After that was the matinee and then after that I had a can of Progresso 99 percent fat-free chicken-noodle soup. Between shows, I went to an amazing party and couldn’t have a single thing. It was at the apartment of an Italian artist friend and they were being gorgeous and Italian and the wine was flowing and there was amazing pasta, and that’s just a no before a show.

I have a goodie box in my dressing room, so I keep a bunch of reduced-fat cheese sticks around. I don’t want find myself in my dressing room with a little bit of hunger and be at the corner getting a baguette at Au Bon Pain. So at about 7:15, I got back to work and had a cheese stick, a little Mott’s applesauce, and a handful of almonds … And I had a bite of cannoli cake because it was our spotlight operator Colin’s birthday and because I’m human and it looked amazing and it was amazing.

After the show, nothing.

Sunday, February 8
Sunday morning, another two-show day, which means more sugar-free Red Bull, the usual Emergen-C, three boiled egg whites, and one piece of toast.

I went to the gym and did the show, and at 4:30, had a few more rice cakes with reduced-fat Jiff and strawberry jam.

After that another nonfat yogurt, which was either strawberry or peach, and grapes — really big, gorgeous, green grapes that you could cut with a knife and fork.

After the second show we went to the Soho House with some friends and had an amazing dinner. I’m a huge seafood eater; I’ll probably become a mermaid one day, or probably a shark, they’re higher up on the food chain and I’ll eat any kind of fish. I had scallops in this delicious sauce. I almost want to say there’s bacon in it. And the entrée was the crusted skate fillet with cauliflower purée, which is so good because it’s quite far removed from vegetables. I love vegetables, but it’s like you’re having mashed potatoes. I’ve been avoiding red wine lately. My pursuit of calorie reduction has made me a hard drinker because hard alcohol is a little bit less calorically. I probably had a half a glass of red wine, and Grey Goose martini has been my drink of choice lately, so I had some of those. And we shared a cheese plate. I used to have a huge sweet tooth, and at some point a few years ago my sweet tooth just became a savory tooth; now I want, like, a piece of steak on a stick or really wonderful cheeses, like hard and offensive-smelling cheeses.

I had to be rolled into bed.

Monday, February 9
Monday is the day off. I had also been overdue for a day not to go to the gym — it’s good to take at least a day off —so for that reason, I didn’t have breakfast. At about 11 a.m., I did have the rest of those giant, juicy, green grapes and an Emergen-C.

At about 3:30 in the afternoon I had a reduced-fat cheese stick and a handful of Goldfish. I love those. I always have bags and bags of them at the theater. They’ve gone kind of crazy with all their flavors, but the original are the best.

In the evening we went to a movie premiere. We went to the premiere of The International. Eating on the day off is always a bit loosey-goosey, so I had popcorn at the movies. Gasp! That’s unheard of for me.

After that there was a party at the Guggenheim Museum and there wasn’t much food there. I’m not the biggest fan of passed hors d'oeuvre, because you have to eat standing up. I didn’t even have a drink, really. I ordered a martini. They can’t all be winners, and this one had its training wheels on and it was sort of a cold, sour, glass of something. But then we went to dinner at the Norwood Club, another private club downtown.

At the Norwood Club, they had perfect Grey Goose martinis. Some of those happened. The food is amazing and this was my first time there, so I was kind of loving it. We split a winter salad with mesclun and shaved Parmesan. There was more bread to tempt me, and I gave in because they had these wonderful baby baguettes. I had a seared bass entrée, which was served with grilled vegetables, which sounds boring, but they were perfect vegetables. That was followed by another cheese plate because I’m still making up for those five years when I was a vegetarian and didn’t eat cheese.

Tuesday, February 10
Tuesdays are back to work, back to the gym, back to three egg whites. They were scrambled on this day for a little variety. I had Dannon nonfat yogurt, which was either peach or strawberry because they’re my favorite, one piece of toast, and Emergen-C. That was at about 11.

Tuesday is really boring because I was atoning for the sins of the day before and the next day, because I knew I would be having a great dinner. I ran some errands, and at 4 p.m. I had a PowerBar. It was a new tropical smoothie flavor. I enjoy PowerBars very much, but I’m not so sure that flavor is working for them. It’s sort of like chewy fruity gum, almost, except it wasn’t gum.

After that, I usually get to work around 7 and I check in with my hunger level and make sure I won’t get dizzy and fall over on top of Will. I was doing okay, so I had Goldfish and a cheese stick and I also had some Twizzlers, because sometimes I need some sugar.

After, nothing. If I can avoid eating after a show, I do.

Wednesday, February 11
Wednesday I had breakfast at about 10:30 and I knew I’d be having dinner after the show so I tried to keep it light. I had oatmeal, the instant kind. When I’m microwaving my oatmeal, like a gourmet does, I will sometimes swirl in a microwaved applesauce thingy and then I really feel like I’m doing something.

I had a nonfat yogurt at like 4:30, and then my usual when I got to work at about 7: a handful of almonds, a cheese stick.

After work, I went to At Vermilion where basically all hell broke loose and I ate basically anything that didn’t eat me first. At Vermilion is Latin and Indian food. I’ve loved Indian food all my life. I was born in Harlem and moved around a lot, but my family is from the West Indies, which is removed from the actual subcontinent of India, but certain flavors are similar. I grew up with a lot of curry, roti, and naan, things that the cuisines have in common.

The chef, Maneet Chauhan, put together a tasting menu. She brought out blue corn-crusted scallops with a goat cheese purée, a duck vindaloo arepa, and artichoke pakoras. Then, pani puri, like a little pastry almost, but so thin with wonderful seasoning. She brought out butternut-squash-coconut soup. The way they do it, I just want to swim in it and have it all around me and eat my way out of a big vat of it.

And cocktails. Lots of drinking happened because they have these herb and spice cocktails like a cucumber-mint martini and lychee-ginger and coriander-pear. They knew I was coming and had my drinking hat on, so they did little shots of each. They also have something called a coconut-cardamom-saffron cocktail. It’s also on their dessert menu, because this thing has so much texture that it’s almost like a frozen piña colada, but it’s served in a martini and not too sweet. That’s just the beginning.

We had seafood stew with a tomato base, lobsters, mussels, shrimp, scallops, spinach, and vegetables. They serve it in these space-age bowls. And then crab konkani, which is so spicy you sort of get emotional; your eyes start to water. It’s almost like a super-beautiful high-end burrito. You don’t pick it up and bite into it, but it is wrapped. Then, because Maneet felt that I needed to keep eating, she brought out tandoori skirt steak and that has plantain chips, which I grew up eating, and garlic spinach. I could barely finish that, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. The whole thing was accompanied by ginger-mint naan, and since I’m having bread products again, I love the naan.

I only had a bite of dessert. It has an Indian name and the translation is the king’s jewel, I believe. I’m sure it’s like a piece of cake. It has vanilla, banana, pistachios, and cream. And there was a rose in the cake. I’d like to think that I’m special and that I get roses. And I had that coconut cocktail thing. You could almost eat it with a spoon, but I just dig in and throw it into my face. Last night was bananas. Everyone says moderation is the key, but sometimes I’ll have a cheese stick and almonds and keep it moving and sometimes I’ll have tandoori skirt steak and seafood stew. And sometimes those things happen on the same day; I try to keep it balanced out.

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